Or how I am one hairy dude and I am fine with my hairy chest, legs and thick beard

The first time I realized that I was hairy (for my age) was when my mother said to me, “You’ve got hairy legs!” I was eleven and unaware that anyone was different. When she said to me, “You’ve got an arse wig,” I nearly died! For a start I didn’t know what a “butt wig” was. It is the hair growing at the base of the spine. I was only thirteen and my thoughts were, “What’s she going to say next?” Now hair was a real issue to me. From about the age of twelve, I knew I would be hairy. And that instinctive feeling was in no way mistaken.

A very hairy man with a mustache

As my hair grew so did my insecurity. I felt a total freak! I wanted to rid myself of it and I didn’t know what to do. I tried shaving my hair off a few times but that was uncomfortable. I wondered if I was some kind of alien being sent to Earth on some unknown mission. Perhaps my hair is why I so like Star Trek. I don’t know but I am convinced it made me feel different.

My hair grew. And it grew. And it grew some more! Then I had a lucky break. I was staying with my sister and her husband in Canada. One of her cats was ill and my brother-in-law and I took it to the vet. After it was given treatment, I held the cat for the journey home. It urinated all over my shirt. I took the shirt off and carried the cat bare chested. When we got back to the house, my sister did say something to me like, “You’re a bit hairy, aren’t you?” But whatever she said, it was friendly and left me feeling that she didn’t regard me as something from another planet. Or at least she didn’t because of my body hair! At this point I’ll state that my sister and I have an unusually good relationship. But I don’t think the love I have for my sister colored favorably the way I saw her remark. I think I saw it the way it was meant. I began to realize that I was not a freak.

Years went by. The cat incident was in 1984. I knew I was not alone in being very hairy, but people just don’t seem to talk about it. And I think the vast majority of people don’t realize that hairy men find being hairy a social problem. I always felt that I might be rejected by large numbers of people, just for being different. I didn’t know how to cope. I just ignored my hair and tried to live a normal life.

Then two things happened that made me realize that my hair is not a problem. The first was the fright of my life. That phrase is a cliche but this really was terrifying! I was alone in my parents’ house when, at just after 4am, I heard a burglar breaking in. There was no phone in my room and I was too frightened to challenge him. I just waited for him to take what he wanted and go. Except he didn’t! He went from room to room looking for things, making one hell of a noise. Eventually he walked straight into my bedroom! I played dead and fortunately he went. He did not even take anything! The fear I suffered that morning helped me to put other things in perspective. I realized that my hair was not even half a problem! The second thing was setting up my web pages and corresponding with people on the subject.

I now regard all my body hair as a bit of a joke. A joke played on me by nature – and really quite a funny one! I feel that I accept it totally and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I like it because it is comfortable on my skin and that is a good enough reason. I would not change it for anything. I am more interested in my biology than whether or not people think I’m a freak.

Since I started my research I have received unsolicited requests for advice regarding hair. My advice is plain and straightforward: learn to live with what you have got. You will be much happier if you can come to terms with your body as it is. There are many social pressures on people to change their looks and, on the whole, they are bad. Bad for the individual and bad for society. If we all end up looking the same, people will just become like dolls off a production line! Don’t let yourself be press-ganged by fashion or a feeling of being alone. Be an individual and accept your body the way it is!

One very hairy dude!

I have become convinced that most excessively hairy men suffer a trauma when their hair grows. I am convinced that this should be recognized and treated. I don’t know, but maybe the easiest way to treat this problem is to identify males, who will grow very hairy, at a young age. Then provide them with counseling to convince them of the normality of the situation. Hairy adult males who are uneasy about their hair should have counseling too. It is the best way to deal with the problem. After all, leaving all other considerations aside, it is much cheaper than cosmetic surgery! It is nothing about which to be embarrassed. Accepting that you have a psychological problem does not mean you are mentally ill. Nearly everyone has a psychological problem of one sort or another, it is just that they don’t all need treatment. Yet most would benefit from treatment.

Alternatively, try and convince yourself of your normality. One way is to think of all the physical quirks of your less hairy friends and wonder if they worry about them. They probably do! They might even envy you for your hair! The fact is that we cannot all have what we want. And I have had letters from men asking me how to grow hair!

There is a place for cosmetic surgeons and cosmeticians. Their most useful role is in the reconstruction of areas of the body devastated by accident or illness. There are a few people whose natural looks can be improved by cosmetic alteration. But they are a small minority. Many people who undergo cosmetic procedures are not satisfied with the results. The reason is not failure of the procedure, but the fact that the root cause of wanting cosmetic treatment is psychological and that cause has gone untreated. Don’t let yourself in for unnecessary pain, discomfort or disappointment. Examine all options and don’t go for a cosmetic procedure sold to you like new windows!

Be careful and good luck!